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Edward Duncan

(1803 - 1882)

Born in St Pancras, London on 21st October 1803, Edward Duncan was the son of Thomas Duncan (1781-1841) and Peggy, née Watson. He was apprenticed to Robert Havell (1793-1878), a painter and also the foremost engraver in aquatint, who with his father, also Robert, engraved all but ten plates of Audubon’s Birds of America.

Following his apprenticeship Duncan set up his own engraving studio producing prints for, among others, the Publisher Samuel Fores of Piccadilly. In 1835 he married Berthia (1811-1884), the daughter of William J Huggins (1781-1845), a marine painter to both George IV and William IV, under whose influence Duncan included marine paintings, specifically coastal scenes to his oeuvre.

As a painter in oils, he exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1846 and 1873 and was elected a member of the New Society of Painters in Watercolour in 1833 and of the Royal Watercolour Society in 1850.

In his later years he spent almost every summer painting coastal scenes in South Wales, on the Gower Peninsular. He died in Hampstead on 11th April 1882.

Edward and Berthia had seven children, one of whom, Walter Duncan, followed in his father’s footsteps, being elected ARWS in 1874.

His works can be found in museums in: Birkenhead; Jersey; Hull; Liverpool; London, Courtauld Gallery; Sheffield; Southend-on-Sea and Connecticut, Yale Center for British Art